Nashville: Eat, Drink, and Stay

First image...
Avo, a vegan hit in Nashville ...

No. 1 With A Bullet

Nashville's music scene has always been hot. Here comes the food scene, though.

... YUM at Union Common ...
... and Chauhan Ale and Masala House.

By Jennifer Justus 
Photography by Jen McDonald

Originally appeared in November 2015 issue of Virtuoso Life

For all the depth and diversity on its stages and airwaves, Music City has often felt like a one-note dining town. That’s changed. Though you can keep a boot firmly planted in chicken-and-biscuit territory, newcomers and hometown chefs are riffing on Southern standards and enjoying the freedom and support to experiment with bold tastes. Across the city, diners are singing out, “We’re here to be entertained.” 

Chauhan Ale & Masala House

Maneet Chauhan made her name with Indian-Latin fusion at Chicago’s Vermilion restaurant and in Food Network appearances. In Nashville, she brings a Southern accent to her native Indian fare. Located at the quieter end of the trendy Gulch neighborhood, the restaurant’s brick walls glow with jewel-toned light. Fire up your palate with spicy chicken pakoras dipped in ghost-pepper sauce or black-eyed pea croquettes. The cultural mash-up ranges from curried biscuits and gravy at brunch to dinner’s guava-glazed ribs. Chauhan’s ode to Nashville’s beloved “meat and three” restaurants even stacks a choice of protein and three sides in Indian lunch pails. 123 12th Avenue N.; 615/242-8426;

Biscuit Love

Karl and Sarah Worley first stopped traffic with their Biscuit Love food truck. Several years of music festivals and office parks later, they’ve opened a brick-and-mortar shop in The Gulch with lines that wrap around the building for an expanded menu of shrimp and grits, shaved Brussels sprouts with poached eggs, and “bonuts” – fried biscuit dough with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. Their original biscuit sandwiches remain a favorite, including the Princess: Nashville-style hot chicken, house-made pickles, and a drizzle of honey and homemade mustard. 316 11th Avenue S.; 615/490-9584;


Nashville isn’t known for raw food and vegan dining, but a yoga teacher and a chef have teamed up to change that with a clean-lined space that feels as fresh as the food. Meat lovers and vegetarians alike beeline to the bar for AVOcado margaritas, a simple but brilliant blend of avocado, agave, lime, and tequila. The Wild Nashville Salad showcases the freshest of local produce (such as watermelon and arugula), while the pad thai (spiralized zucchini, daikon, and kelp in spicy almond sauce) is a favorite entree. 3001 Charlotte Avenue; 615/329-2377;

Union Common

Located in an inconspicuous, wedge-shaped Midtown building, this restaurant saw days as a dry cleaner’s and a disco before its latest transformation into an art deco hideaway with an oval bar and sexy dining room. Diners share plates of smoked mussels, crispy duck with polenta and cornbread cracklings, and barbecue shrimp, sopped up with baguette. Even its standout steaks arrive sliced for easier sharing. 1929 Broadway; 615/329-4565;  

Where To Stay in Nashville

Virtuoso has two properties in Nashville.

Eat Like A Local in Nashville: Hot Chicken

Nashville-style hot chicken originated in the 1930s, when word has it, a scorned lover took cayenne to Thornton Prince’s fried chicken as revenge for his cheating ways. He loved it, of course, and opened Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Over the years, competitors popped up, serving the spicy bird on white bread with pickles. A favorite: Hattie B’s, which features sides of Southern greens, pimento mac and cheese, and local beers to tame the heat. 5209 Charlotte Avenue and 112 19th Avenue S.;

A Virtuoso Advisor Tip On Nashville

“When you’re in The Gulch, check out Two Old Hippies for fun clothes, gifts, and custom guitars, or Lucchese next door for your dream cowboy boots. Across the street, musician hangout The Station Inn is famous for its bluegrass and great acoustics.”  – Cynthia A. Kear, Virtuoso travel advisor, Nashville

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